Conservation Program for Scinax alcatraz

To breed, reintroduce and monitor Scinax alcatraz tree frogs in Brazil


Scinax alcatraz is a Critically Endangered tree frog, endemic to the small Alcatrazes Island (135 ha), located off the coast of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Due to its limited natural range, this species is susceptible to threats that can easily decimate the population, such as natural disasters or the introduction of new diseases. Moreover, the use of the island as an artillery target by the Brazilian navy can easily destroy the habitat of this species, as has already happened in the past.


For this reason, S. alcatraz is one of the species contemplated by the National Conservation Plan for the Endangered Island's Herpetofauna, coordinated by Instituto Chico Mendes (ICMBio). The objective of this plan is to establish ways to protect and recover the environment, looking to reversing the threats to the endemic reptiles and amphibians of the archipelago of Alcatrazes and Queimada Grande islands. With governmental and non-governmental institutions involved, the conservation strategies of this plan highlight four lines of action: public policy (surveillance, reclassification and implementation of conservation units, with the creation of the National Marine Park of the Archipelago of Alcatrazes); environmental education; scientific investigations (monitoring of natural resources, climate and conservation both in situ and ex situ of threatened species); and conflicts (agreement with the navy to minimise the effects of target practice on endangered species and the environment).


As one of the actions of the plan, São Paulo Zoo has implemented the Conservation Program for Scinax alcatraz, focused on establishing a captive population viable for reintroduction, if necessary. In 2008, the project began with the use of Scinax perpusillus, a species with similar habits but common in the wild, to develop captive breeding and maintenance techniques to be applied to the endangered species. The technique developed was effective and in 2011 the founders of S. alcatraz were collected and transferred to an isolated laboratory at São Paulo Zoo; the animals bred within a few months. An ex situ population is being maintained since then, with successful reproduction and low mortality.


WAZA Conservation Project 15006 is implemented by Fundação Parque Zoológico de São Paulo, with support provided by Amphibian Ark and Zoo Conservation Outreach Group. Other stakeholders involved in the project include Estação Ecológica Tupinambás, Sociedade de Defesa do Litoral Brasileiro, Projeto Tamar, Instituto Butantan, Instituto de Botânica, Instituto Florestal, Universidade de São Paulo, Universidade Cruzeiro do Sul, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Marinha do Brasil and Universidade Federal de São Carlos.




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  • Tree Frog Conservation

    Tree Frog Conservation

    (1) - (2) © Cybele Lisboa, (3) - (4) © Renata Vaz